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Astros sign international free agents Pineda, Sanchez


ANAHEIM -- The Astros agreed to terms on contracts with two more international free agents Thursday signing 16-year-old shortstops Juan Pineda and Ozziel Sanchez, both of whom are from Panama. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

Pineda (5-foot-10, 145 pounds) is from Veraguas, Panama, and Sanchez (5-foot-11, 160 pounds) is from Panama City. Both players will report to the Astros complex in the Dominican Republic.

"Pineda's best tool is his bat," Astros director of international Oz Ocampo said. "He has a quiet approach and a short, quick stroke with good rhythm and balance. He has a knack for centering balls and hitting line drives to all fields."

In the 2014 Panama National 15-and-under tournament, Pineda led his team in hitting with a .338 batting average, and was second in the tournament in hits.

On Sanchez, Ocampo said: "His best tool is his defense. Sanchez has quick actions, soft hands and an average- to solid-average arm presently. He projects to play at shortstop. Offensively, he shows gap power and uses all fields. He is a high-energy player who likes to play the game."

During last year's international signing period, the Astros led all 30 Major League clubs with five signings from Panama: catcher Ihan Bernal and right-handers Abdiel Saldana, Edgardo Sandoval, Jose Ramos and Gabriel Valdez. All five players are currently playing in the Dominican Summer League.

The Astros have now signed five international free agents this season after agreeing Wednesday with right-hander Franklin Perez, shortstop Miguelangel Sierra and catcher Brandon Benavente, all 16-year-old free agents from Venezuela.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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